Ten green reads for the cottage, beach, or backyard this summer

August 25th, 2017

By Karen Halley, GreenUP Communications & Marketing Specialist

We are about mid way through the summer. As you settle into the backyard hammock or a Muskoka chair on the dock, what book are you looking forward to reading?

GreenUP is here to help you get started on your summer book list with suggested favourites from our staff members. Whether you’ve already planned a couple of reads for the beach this year, or are still considering your options, put one or more of these green books on your summer reading roster:


  1. The Big Book of Nature Activities: A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning by Drew Monkman and Jacob Rodenburg

The Big Book of Nature Activities is a staff favourite and a locally focused essential read for the whole family to enjoy! It is packed full of ideas and activities to get your family outdoors, connecting with nature this summer. The fun continues all year long as the authors take you on a journey through all of the seasons in the Kawarthas.

This book is excellent for suggesting nature-based activities for children who are hanging out at the cottage or the campsite. It is also a fundamental resource for outdoor educators and camp counselors.

The Big Book of Nature Activities is available for sale at the GreenUP Store at 378 Aylmer Street North, Peterborough. Also, for even more local green events, check out the GreenUP online calendar of events for bike nights, workshops, and activities that get everyone outdoors and moving.


  1. Anishnabe 101: The basics of what you need to know to begin your journey on the Red Road by Aimee Bailey

This book is a great primer on aspects of Anishnabe culture, traditions, and knowledge including Anishnabe medicines, the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, and Meegwetch, the Thank You Song. It also includes a comprehensive cultural education about the Algonquin prophecy, the 13 Moons, and an overview of First Nations ceremonies.

Anishnabe 101 provides information that is presented from collective knowledge and long-term experience.  It is a great read for municipal leaders, educators, and anyone else who is interested in learning about the Anishnabe way of life.


  1. The Complete Up North: A guide to Ontario’s wilderness from black flies to the Northern lights by Doug Bennet and Tim Tiner

This is an excellent resource for any camper or cottager who is interested in learning about Ontario’s Ecology. This read is complete with stories and fun facts about plants and animals and other parts of our environment, such as the night sky. It is a great way to help answer children’s, or your own questions about wildlife. The Complete Up North may be out of print, but you can borrow a copy from the Peterborough Public Library. Earlier versions of this compilation are: Up North: A guide to Ontario’s wilderness from black flies to the Northern lights, and Up North Again: More of Ontario’s wilderness from ladybugs to the Pleides.

GreenUP Water Programs Coordinator, Jenn McCallum says, “Recently, I’ve used this guide as a resource for learning about conserving Ontario’s turtle species, and in developing education programming for the Wonders of Water pilot program.”


  1. Frostbike by Tom Babin 

GreenUP Coordinator of Transportation and Urban Design Programs, Jaime Akiyama says, “This is a quick, easy, light-hearted read and it is sure to keep you cool on a hot summer’s day!”

Frostbike is an antidotal take on the author’s experiences venturing into the goal of winter cycling.  The book doesn’t venture too much into the ‘how-to’ of winter cycling but instead the author focuses on some of the humorous aspects that emerged as he hopped on his bike in winter.

“I found it easily relatable,” continues Akiyama, “and the book motivated me in my own personal winter riding goals.”

If you are curious about winter cycling or are thinking about giving it a try this year, get a head start on your year-round riding goals; this book is sure to provide motivation and a good laugh.


  1. Water Wow! A Visual Exploration by Antonia Banyard and Paula Ayer

This vibrant and colourful book illustrates many interesting facts about water and visually investigates many intriguing questions about the social, cultural, environmental, and scientific aspects of water through diagrams, infographics, and photos.

This book is sure to surprise children and adults alike with many fascinating facts and is the type of book that can be picked up numerous times to check out new facts; it is great for sharing around.


  1. Ecoholic by Adria Vasil

Ecoholic is a great Canadian resource for becoming an environmentally responsible citizen and consumer. The book covers tips and solutions for everything from clothes, supplies, gifts, and home cleaners with recommendations for the best green products.

It’s not surprising that Ecoholic is a favourite book for GreenUP’s new Store Coordinator, Kristen Larocque. “I like the way Adria Vasil breaks down sustainability rhetoric into digestible bits; it’s a super simple and easy read and it inspires us to make more informed choices.”


  1. Keeping the Bees: Why all bees are at risk and what we can do to save them by Laurence Packer

If you’re interested in bees, this book is for you! Laurence Packer is a local author who conducts his research out of York University and writes from a storytelling point of view. The book is riddled with his anecdotes and travel diaries from studying different bee species around the world.

GreenUP Environmental Educator, Danica Jarvis explains, “Packer is masterful at including the hard-hitting science in a way that everyone can understand and learn from. If you are interested in the GreenUP Community Beekeeping Program or the GreenUP Native Bee Share, this book is a great springboard to furthering your knowledge about these bee-utiful species.”

Bonus: this book is listed with the David Suzuki Book Club book! It is recommended that this book be read in the garden while listening to the buzz of the bees.


  1. The Hidden Life of Trees: What they feel, How they Communicate – Discoveries from A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

After reading this book, you may never look at a tree in the same way. Author, Peter Wohlleben is a forester, who asks, “Are trees social?” Throughout the book, Wohlleben compares and contrasts communities of trees with that of humans. For example, he explores the concept that trees live together like families, communicating and supporting each other. He investigates how, like humans, tree parents not only help their young, but other tree species as well.

Read this book in a hammock while admiring the tree canopy above. By the end of this short read, be prepared to feel inspired to create change and preserve the trees in your community. You may also feel the urge to stop by GreenUP Ecology Park and wander through the tree nursery or brush up on your tree ID skills.


  1. Power Up! A Visual Exploration of Energy by Shaker Paleja

This book is for all energetic middle schoolers out there! We use energy everyday but where does energy come from? Readers will learn about the past, present, and future of energy through the interesting and colourful “energy” of this book. Discover cool facts about fossil fuels, hydropower, greenhouse gasses, and the sun through charts, diagrams, maps, and easy to follow infographics. Even parents are likely to learn a thing or two.


  1. A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold

A Sand County Almanac is a classic read, written in 1949 by American Ecologist and forester, Aldo Leopold. The book is a collection of essays that is divided into 12 sections, for each month of the year. It delves into Leopold’s philosophy of responsible relationships between people and the land, which has informed the environmental movement since it’s publication.

“This is my go-to green read,” Explains Lindsay Stroud, GreenUP’s Manager of Transportation and Urban Design Programs, “Every few years I like to re-read Sand County Almanac month by month, January in January, and so on. The essays are not only beautifully written and full of life, but also provide a regular reminder to slow down and take notice of what’s around you: the sound of Jackson Creek, the changes in your garden, the flitting of birds in the trees, the abundance of nature, and the passing of time.”

Posted in conservation, cycling, energy, gardening, GreenUP Ecology Park, GreenUP Store, transportation, trees, water